( By Sangeeta S. Bhagwat )

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m-Encourage the Patient to be Independent

  • The protective instincts of a caregiver have to be contained consciously. The more active and independent that a patient can be, the better are his chances of successfully battling his disease.

  • Allow the patient freedom to do everything that he can mange by himself. The patient is already fighting helplessness and depression. Often, the overwhelming frustration is due to having become "dependent" to any extent, on another person. The more that he can manage by himself, the more the hope of recovery. Rather than succumbing to your nurturing instincts, it is better to keep hope and enthusiasm alive in the patient.

  • If necessary, provide discreet support in the background. But avoid being overbearing. Strict controls only provoke the patient to rebel in frustration and you end up having to combat non-compliance.

  • Allow the patient to take his own medication, make his own appointments, discuss with his physician, etc.. You will provide maximum benefit, by simply being available if needed. Taking charge of all activities can lead to the patient completely losing self-confidence.

  • What starts out as your well-intentioned, caring and comforting attitude, can fast lead into dangerous territory. The patient can lose all interest, stop being responsible for his own well-being and instead turn complaining and petulant, when you can't keep up the same level of support.

If your objective is to help the patient lead as normal a life as possible, then the basic thing to do, is treat him as normally as possible.

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